A Guide to Google Panda and Penguin

Although Google Panda and Penguin seem to be similar, in reality, the two algorithms differ; in this document, I have written a summary of how the two differ and the impact they have on today’s SEO world.

Let us first begin with Google Panda

The Google panda algorithms contribute to a more generic, wider approach that specifically looks for algorithms that initiate a spam flag, Panda algorithms looks for webpages on a general overview that are considered (By Panda) to be of low quality such as duplicate text content, with over 40% which is usually a triggering point of a page being at risk of triggering Panda algorithms.

Google Panda also looks for pages with duplicate design or pages that have the exact same design.

A triggering factor is also pages with thin text and content such as pages with only a few sentences or pages which are full of ads without actual text.

This also works to the extent of pages with only text content that do not provide anything interesting such as no images or videos, so on and so forth, the lack of actual reach out of an SEO’s content can be detected by negative usage metrics, i.e. high bounce rate, actual time spent on page…

Panda continuously checks for Garbage or nonsense text pages, such as pages that don’t make any sense to viewers, this also includes pages with too many link outs, in particular if the link outs are redirecting to low quality pages or spam pages.

I would like to go more into detail now by explaining how the Google Panda updates affect in SEO.

Through my research I have discovered that Google are getting very smart at tackling black hat techniques, Panda’s most recent update has even broadened its view. Having said that, there are a few things SEO must watch for.

A page with poor design, spam ads that will affect the page’s ability and its performance, this will be negatively impacted, the best practice is to always put in mind the user experience which in return will generate more links, more content contribution with a result of more social signals, sharing etc…

Having a good site with low quality page is something to be worried about in a sense that Google Panda will recognize such features and in return will drag back the ranking for the whole site. SEO nightmare at its best!

Next we will go through the importance of content quality, having good content quality by itself is not enough, Panda will identify content that is written specifically for SEO purposes and will penalize accordingly since the content was not truly produced for sharing and this is where it’s optimization is effective, not only by using repetitive keywords, SEO’s should also consider things such as were the keywords properly included in the title tag? Is the rest of the content relevant to the keywords?

Panda also looks at user and usage metrics, by comparing (The SEO’s) site and other site’s keyword ranking, if viewers are actually browsing on (The SEO’s) particular webpage, are they clicking on multiple pages on (The SEO’s) site? Or are they simply not interested, this could raise some concerns if they are seeing off (The SEO’s) particular site with a 1.0 click rate (Not clicking more pages on the site).

Other things Panda will be looking at is the click through rate from search results, it is best to make certain that the proper methods are applied where the domain does not look like spam as this will affect ratings.

Panda also uses tools to measure traffic and recognizes what people are browsing, what they enjoy seeing, how their time is spent and what they continue to see on those pages, Panda also measures what happens from the search results, if people are looking for a specific page or are simply going through the search results.

With all this information gathered from Panda, Google then calculates, recalibrates and issues an update.

SEO’s who have been negatively hit by Panda on their particular page; the best practice to go on about it is to change the metrics around the site and abide by Google Panda’s laws.

Given my research, I have concluded that Panda updates are becoming more strict and aggressive on site checks and quality.

Now let’s transverse a little and look into Google Penguin

While Panda had a more generic overview of webpages, Penguin on the other hand has a more detailed, specific view of algorithms.

Google Penguin detects spam on the webpage’s keywords, Penguin algorithms looks for onsite and offsite backlinks pages, it looks for unseen keywords, these keywords can either be hidden through HTML, title attributes in the anchor tags and also through cascading style sheets.

Penguin is well known to target repetitive keywords, it is best to avoid a high keyword density and also keywords that are over-used and misused for the sake of having them on the page, any keywords that will sound repetitive by a reader will be subject to target by Penguin. Such behavior on a webpage will affect the page’s rank and will have it penalized.

Penguin will also look for editorial links on the footer text or the side navigation text with an overuse of keywords.

All the above practices will result in a spam flag, which no SEO will want to have as this will dramatically and negatively affect the ranking, once a page has been flagged as spam, this in return will be penalized, the ranking in penalty will depend on the amount of negative algorithms found on the targeted page; the topic page will then drop on ranking in text which is identified by Panda and also the specific key words which is what Penguin looks for.

What makes these penalties worse is this also affects all the pages that it’s linked to the flagged page, which will create a domino effect on ranking drops by bringing those websites down too. This poses a huge problem for SEO’s as when all the pages go down, the viewer ranking will naturally be dropped since there will be a lack of voting power.

If a page has been affected by Penguin, the best thing to look for is to fix all issues on the on page by identifying what is causing Penguin to spam the webpage, such as dupe content, hidden keywords and so on, fixing any flaws that will cause a plummet in ranking is essential for surviving Penguin, a simple advice is to do an overall improvement especially on the onsite page.

Both Penguin and Panda are continuously getting wiser, broader and more effective to counter Black Hat SEO methods, with what I have researched and learned, the best option here is the safe option which is playing it by the book.

Thank you for reading my article.

Mark Debattista
#1 SEO Expert Malta

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